Last month, a House subcommittee held a hearing that examined the impact of existing truck weight and length regulations on safety, highway infrastructure, and interstate commerce.
The U.S. House of Representatives Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure subcommittee on Transportation and Infrastructure received testimony on July 9. The witnesses included the executive director of the Federal Highway Administration, commissioners from state highway transportation departments, a teamster’s driver, an independent driver, industry representatives and safety advocates.
Although there are some exceptions, federal regulations typically limit truck weight to a maximum of 20,000 pounds for single axles, 34,000 pounds for tandem axles, and impose a total Gross Vehicle Weight limit of 80,000 pounds.
The summary prepared by the subcommittee before testimony began noted that in 2006, nearly 5,000 people were killed in crashes involving large trucks. It also noted that in the 2000 Comprehensive Truck Size and Weight Study, the Federal Highway Administration calculated whether the higher taxes that trucks pay cover the wear-and-tear they inflict on highways. It found:
“The most common combination of vehicles, those registered at weights between 75,000 and 80,000 pounds, now pay only 80 percent of their share of Federal highway costs and combinations registered between 80,000 and 100,000 pounds pay only half their share of Federal highway costs.”
In addition to the impact on infrastructure, the question of whether to permit bigger and longer trucks on the highways pits safety advocates against representatives of the trucking industry. Safety advocates argue that bigger trucks are too dangerous. The trucking industry claims larger trucks are needed to meet increased cargo demands.
Even if the truck weights and lengths remain unchanged it doesn’t mean the roads are safe. Unfortunately, trucking companies are pressured to cut costs, and drivers—who are typically paid by the mile—are under financial pressure to driver longer hours, faster than the speed limit, and faster than the road conditions allow. As a result, people are killed or hurt in truck accidents.
If you or a loved one has been injured or a family member has been killed in a collision with a large truck, we urge you to contact the Lowe Law Firm by calling 877-678-3400 or filling out our online contact form.
Our trucking-accident attorneys will find out whether the truck driver, trucking company, or trailer owner is responsible for the accident. If so, we will then seek compensation for future and other related medical expenses, future and other affected wages, pain and suffering, disability and/or other related damages.